I think hands down, the best part of this last week was getting to talk to my family. You all look so good, and really, it was the BEST Christmas gift ever. I love you all a lot. Really, being in Spain for Christmas puts things into perspective as to why Christmas is so important. Really, being with family on Christmas is the best, so, treasure it while you have the opportunity.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Monday, December 22, 2014
This last week has been AMAZING. For the majority of this week, we have been preparing Rosa, one of our investigators for baptism. She is a very amazing lady, and I think I talked about her a little bit before. She is from Bulgaria, and she has a lot of faith. Because of the language barrier it was very hard for us to communicate our message to her at first, but as time went on, she started reading from the Book of Mormon (in Bulgarian), and she started to really show how much faith and desire to learn that she really does have. Our last lesson with her before her baptism was amazing. She talked about Nephi and building the ship and how he was willing to do what his brothers were not. She really knows and feels that this Gospel is true. The day of her baptism was amazing. Really, a gift just to be there. Her family came out to support her, and she kept telling us how nervous, but excited she was to get baptized. I remember walking down into the fount and realizing how big of a moment this was for her. She was just about to change her life, and completely become a new person. Literally, in a matter of seconds, she was about to become a spiritually reborn person. It was amazing. Unfortunately, her dress was very loose, and I ended up having to baptize her four times before she got completely submerged. She joked about how now, she is EXTRA clean from her previous life, and that I got a lot of practice for my next baptism. She's great. We had our first recent convert lesson with her, and she was telling us about how she felt, when she received the gift of the Holy Ghost after her baptism, that a weight was lifted off of her. She is so much happier now, and has so much confidence in herself and in her faith. It is a miracle, and our own little Christmas miracle that we've gotten to enjoy here in Alicante.
Also, today we found out who our next mission president and wife will be....drum roll please....DarVel and Marilyn Anderson, from Blackfoot, Idaho! They sound great and still have a while before they get here, because President and Hermana Deere will finish in July.
We're really excited about this upcoming week, with Christmas! It's very different to see Christmas without the mountains covered in snow, or just no snow in general. It has been pretty cold, which is so different from when I first got here. But we've noticed how great the message of the gospel ties into the message of Christmas. God loved us, so he sent his son, and approximately 1820 years later, he restored his church so that people everywhere can be happy. It's really the same message. God loves us. He wants our happiness and is so willing to make us happy, we just have to be receptive to him. But his son really is the best gift he could ever give us. He really is the best gift. A gift of unconditional love, and unconditional sacrifice. During this time, it's such an opportunity to remember him. Remember what he's done for us and remember why He did what He did.
This Gospel is amazing. Share it with someone today, because it will really change their life and I know that it will make them happy. That's the purpose of the Gospel, and with God as its founder, it can make every person happy, if they choose to let it into their life.
Thank you all for all that you do, I love you so, so, so much!
IT'S A GREAT DAY TO BE A MISSIONARY!
|Rosa's Baptism,-- Me, Rosa, and Elder Sharp|
|Rosa's family and friends|
Monday, December 15, 2014
This week has been a great experience. It´s really changed my perspective on a lot of things that before the mission I hadn´t even thought about. Before the mission, I had thought a lot about how everyone has their own divine destiny-mission, but I hadn´t really considered what that means. That everyone, EVERYONE, has a divine purpose here on the earth. For that reason, we need to try and help every single person try and reach that divine potential.
This last week, Rosa fully committed to be baptized this Saturday. Her conversion story is really special to me because she is a completely new person through knowing the Gospel. When we would go over to teach her mother, she would sit in the back of the room, and didn´t interact. She is from Bulgaria, so we figured that she didn´t understand the questions. One day we decided to start asking her more questions and seeing what she thought about what we were teaching. When we did, she began to change. She began to respond when we asked questions. She started to get more engaged. It turned out, she speaks Spanish very well, and only needed a little bit of help to get started. Her confidence started to grow. When she started to read the Book of Mormon, she changed. If I could see the before and after personality of Rosa, it would be hard to tell that she is the same person. She has completely changed, and all for the better. The Gospel changes people. She has gotten more confidence through it, and has really started to realize her potential.
This experience that has really made me think about the worth of souls. In D&C 18:10, it says that the worth of souls is GREAT in the sight of God. It doesn´t specify which souls are great, and which are not. It just says that unconditionally, universally, and without anything held back, God loves all his children and recognizes their divine worth and potential. For us, that should be motivation enough to want to give them the good news of the gospel. Maybe it doesn´t even have to be a huge act of kindness. All it has to be is an act of sincere, loving desire to help someone. Because once we truly recognize every soul as something precious and as someone unique, we start to see them as our Heavenly Father sees them.
So go out and makes someone´s day. Make somebody smile, and try and lift someone. Small things can make a big difference in the lives of others.
Anyway, I love you all. Thank you so much for all that you do, and thanks for all of the support that you have given me.
IT´S A GREAT DAY TO BE A MISSIONARY!
Monday, December 8, 2014
Merry Christmas! We still have a couple of weeks, but this is by far my favorite time of the year, so I feel like you can never wish somebody a merry Christmas too many times.
I will be spending Christmas in Alicante! I´m pretty happy about that, I will be spending one more transfer here in Alicante with Elder Sharp.
So. Alicante in winter time is COLD. It doesn´t snow, but it will get to where we have to wear coats. It has suddenly dropped from being hot almost 24/7, to being cold. The temperature is actually pretty moderate, but the humidity makes it freezing. We are loving the change. It has been a great week.
Rosa is getting baptized! We were a little worried about her at first, but she has come to church on her own and is getting very excited about her baptism. She is from Bulgaria, and is loving the gospel. Her mom, Mina, got baptized a few months back, and we have been working with Rosa preparing her for baptism. We are very excited.
Antonio is another investigator that we have been working with. He is pretty amazing, because he contacted us on the street and asked if we could talk a little bit about our religion with him. We have been meeting with him, and he is progressing well. He has met with missionaries before and knows a lot about our church.
Trinidad is a Spanish lady who was introduced to us by a member. She is very prepared. She is reading the Book of Mormon, and is loving it. She works on Sunday, and when we asked her to come to church, she said that she would ask her boss if she could change the schedule on Sunday so that she would be able to attend. Her boss let her. She is so willing to change her life so that she can learn more about the gospel, and we are very lucky to know her. She asked us to give a blessing to her son, who was having nightmares, and after we had given the blessing, she told us that her son´s nightmares went away.
Yesterday, we were going over to a Family Home Evening with a woman named Maricarmen in our ward. Usually, it is her, her son, and her son´s friend that are over when we are teaching them. We had planned to show them the ¨He is the Gift¨ video, and talk about the Christmas season. As we got to their door, we heard a LOT of voices inside. As we walked in, we saw a family that we had just barely shown the video two a couple of nights prior, along with other members that we had shown the movie to. Maricarmen had invited over for to listen to us. We realized very quickly we had to share something else. We pulled out a scripture from section 121 of Doctrine and Covenants that talks about Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail. It talks about the perseverance that we need to have throughout life, because we will pass through problems and trials, and we may not know why. All we really can do, is pray to God that He will deliver us from our situation that we are in. We didn´t realize it until about halfway through the lesson, but that was a perfect theme for the family that was there. The parents have been waiting years to finally get the paperwork to get married, still have to wait for reasons outside of their control. They are such amazing examples of persevering. They haven´t been baptized yet, but will the second the paperwork comes through and they are allowed to finally get married. It was a testimony to me about how God really will fill our mouths, all we have to do is open them.
It´s been a great week. We have a lot to be grateful for. We have been working our hardest. I feel like I´ve worked the hardest I ever have in my entire life. Sometimes I feel like we will never feel fully rested as a missionary. We are ALWAYS doing something. Which is something incredible about the missionary program. Elder Sharp and I were talking about it the other day. We thought that logically, the missionary program shouldn´t work. A bunch of 18-25 year old kids voluntarily going out, living on their own and teaching other people and changing lives. It shouldn´t work, but it does. That´s what is so miraculous about this work. It really is a marvelous work and a wonder. I have a testimony of this work and I am so happy to be doing this with my life right now. It is such an amazing experience. We get to daily see how people change their lives. And I think that the people who change the most are the missionaries, because as we help other come unto Christ, we learn how to do it ourselves.
I love this! Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers.
IT¨S A GREAT DAY TO BE A MISSIONARY!
|The sunrise from our apartment.|
|Made my first tortilla de patatas|
|My second cousin, Hermana Brown! Serving in the same mission.|
|Our thanksgiving dinner as a zone|
Monday, December 1, 2014
I love being a missionary. I really, really do. There are times when we are walking and we are tired, hungry, and discouraged, but after we work through those times and we get to appreciate the good times. I love being a missionary, it is one of the best things that I have ever done in my life. We see little miracles daily that make all of the hard work worth it.
So this last week, we had a week of getting people to Sacrament Meeting. We set our goals, and decided we were going to try and get as many investigators as we could in church. We worked out every way possible that we were going to do it and decided to pray and trust that God would do the rest. Sunday came around and it was raining, hard. I was worried because we were going to pick one of our investigators up to take her to church and was worried she might not come because of the rain. We get to her house and she walked down the stairs with an umbrella and rain boots, completely ready to come to church. Her name is Rosa, and she is awesome. She´s from Bulgaria, and she is getting baptized the twentieth of this month. So we get to the chapel and we are a little disappointed because nobody else had showed up. We sat down up front, and sat through meeting. When we stood up, we saw that two of our investigators had walked in late, Tekki, with her family, and Preston, an investigator from Nigeria. It was amazing. On top of that, Susannah, a less active member that we have been working with to come to church came! She came with her son, Pedrito, who always gives us drawings. It was incredible.
Henry is a machine. He is another one of our investigators who will be baptized on the twentieth. He is AMAZING: He loves the gospel, and is incredibly prepared. We just got out of a lesson with him, and he is just amazing.
We had Thanksgiving this week. Thanksgiving is not commonly celebrated in Spain, but we got together as a zone and made our own little Thanksgiving. Elder Sharp and I invited the other Elders over to our piso and we made food as well. (Actually, it was mostly Elder Sharp doing the cooking. I was very impressed, but cannot cook to save my life). It was really fun, but it also gave us time to think about what we are grateful for, and it helped me realize how much we have been blessed. We get two years that we get to spend in Spain and we get to do it in the best way possible. We get to tell people about a message that brings happiness. I cannot think of a better way to spend my time. I love being a missionary. This work is really the best way to find happiness. One of my favorite quotes is ¨The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others¨ (Gandhi). I believe missionary work is exactly that. Losing ourselves in the service of others, and by so doing, finding ourselves and our own testimonies as well.
I love being out here. It is incredible. I know that this church is true and that this is the path that leads to happiness in our lives. It is what brings LASTING happiness for everyone and I am so glad I get to share it with all of my brothers and sisters in Spain.
IT´S A GREAT DAY TO BE A MISSIONARY!